Southend Museums is comprised of different museums and galleries within Southend: Central Museum, Southend Planetarium, Prittlewell Priory, Beecroft Art Gallery and Southchurch Hall.
Southend Central Museum was originally built in 1904 as Southend's first free public library. It only opened as a museum in 1981, following the move of the old library to it's own purpose built location on Victoria Avenue in 1974.
The museum is free to enter and open all year round. It is known for its exhibitions of locally discovered artefacts from different times in history, from old fossils to items from the Victorian era. The Central Museum is also known to host a range of different themed events throughout the year. With its handy location next to Southend Victoria station, Central Museum is a great place to spend an hour learning a bit about our local Southend history. Visual displays allow you to see for yourself how Southend-on-Sea has evolved over the centuries.
Southend is also the proud home of the only public planetarium in Essex, and you can find it on the first floor of the Central Museum. It was constructed in 1984 by local astronomer, Harry Ford. Seating up to 20 people at a time, you may have to book in advance if you want to visit in a group. There you can enjoy a 40 minute live talk in an intimate setting, aimed to educate both children and adults, where you can ask your questions as they come up to be answered directly by an astronomy expert.
Southchurch Hall and Prittlewell Priory are Grade I listed historic houses (only 4% of all the buildings in the United Kingdom have this listing), and each of these houses has a uniquely interesting history that you will have the opportunity to explore in the museums. From 13th century monks to Victorian family life the Prittlewell Priory, and Tudor life at Southchurch Hall.
Articles mentioning Southend Museums & Planetarium